The Info List - Beatrice Straight

Beatrice Whitney Straight (August 2, 1914 – April 7, 2001) was an American theatre, film and television actress and a member of the prominent Whitney family. She was an Academy Award
Academy Award
and Tony Award winner as well as an Emmy Award
Emmy Award
nominee.[1] Straight made her Broadway debut in 1939 in The Possessed. Her other Broadway roles included Viola in Twelfth Night
Twelfth Night
(1941), Catherine Sloper in The Heiress (1947) and Lady Macduff in Macbeth
(1948). For her role as Elizabeth Proctor in the 1953 production of The Crucible, she won the Tony Award
Tony Award
for Best Featured Actress in a Play. For the 1976 film Network, she won the Academy Award
Academy Award
for Best Supporting Actress. She was on screen for five minutes and two seconds, the shortest performance ever to win an Academy Award
Academy Award
for acting. She also received an Emmy Award
Emmy Award
nomination for the 1978 miniseries The Dain Curse. Straight also appeared as Mother Christophe in The Nun's Story (1959) and Dr. Lesh in Poltergeist (1982).


1 Early life 2 Career 3 Personal life 4 Filmography

4.1 Film 4.2 Broadway 4.3 Television

5 References 6 External links

Early life[edit] Beatrice Whitney Straight was born in Old Westbury, New York, the daughter of Dorothy Payne Whitney, of the Whitney family, and Willard Dickerman Straight, an investment banker, diplomat, and career U.S. Army officer.[1] Her maternal grandfather was political leader and financier William Collins Whitney. In 1918, when Straight was four years old, her father died in France
of influenza during the great epidemic while serving with the US Army during World War I. Following her mother's remarriage to British agronomist Leonard K. Elmhirst
Leonard K. Elmhirst
in 1925, the family moved to Devon
England. It was there that Straight was educated at Dartington Hall
Dartington Hall
and began acting in amateur theater productions. In the 1930s, she attended the Cornish School
Cornish School
in Seattle where many of her teachers at Dartington Hall
Dartington Hall
were from and to which both she and her mother became major benefactors.[2] Career[edit] Straight returned to the United States
United States
and made her Broadway debut in 1939 in the play The Possessed. Most of her theater work was in the classics, including Twelfth Night
Twelfth Night
(1941), Macbeth, and The Crucible (1953), for which she won the Tony Award
Tony Award
for Best Featured Actress in a Play. From its inception, Straight was a member of the Actors Studio, attending the class conducted three times weekly by founding member Robert Lewis; her classmates included Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift, Jerome Robbins, Sidney Lumet, and about 20 others.[3] Straight was active in the early days of television, appearing in anthology series such as Armstrong Circle Theatre, Hallmark Hall of Fame, Kraft Television Theatre, Studio One, Suspense, The United States Steel Hour, Playhouse 90, and Alfred Hitchcock Presents
Alfred Hitchcock Presents
and dramatic series like Dr. Kildare, Ben Casey, The Defenders, Route 66, Mission: Impossible, and St. Elsewhere. Further television performances include the role of Hippolyta
in the Wonder Woman series, and Marion Hillyard, the icy, controlling mother of Stephen Collins
Stephen Collins
in The Promise. Straight worked infrequently in film and is perhaps remembered best for her role as a devastated wife confronting husband William Holden's infidelity in Network (1976). She won the Academy Award
Academy Award
for Best Supporting Actress for her performance which, at five minutes and two seconds, remains the shortest ever to win an Oscar.[4] Her most widely seen film appearance after Network was the role of the paranormal investigator Dr. Martha Lesh in the 1982 horror film Poltergeist. Personal life[edit] On February 22, 1942, Straight married Louis Dolivet, Free French Leader, in Polk County, Iowa. At the time, Dolivet was a speaker at the National Farm Institute and Straight was in the middle of the mid-west road show of Twelfth Night.[5] Her mother, Dorothy Elmhirst and stepfather, Leonard K. Elmhirst
Leonard K. Elmhirst
attended the wedding, along with her brother Michael Straight
Michael Straight
and his wife, Belinda Crompton. Dolivet was in the French Air Force
French Air Force
until June 1940 and was the co-editor of The Free World, a magazine published by the International Free World Association, of which he was secretary general. At the time of the wedding, her elder brother, Whitney Straight, had been missing since August 1941, when his plane was shot down on the French coast.[5] Straight obtained a divorce from Dolivet in Reno, Nevada
Reno, Nevada
on May 24, 1949. Together they had one child:[6]

Willard Whitney Straight Dolivet (1945-1952)[7]

In 1948, while starring in the Broadway production of The Heiress,[8] an adaptation of Henry James's Washington Square, she met Peter Cookson, who she was acting opposite. They married in 1949 and remained married until Cookson's death in 1990. Peter had two children from his previous marriage, Peter Cookson, Jr. and Jane Coopland (née Cookson).[1] Together, Straight and Cookson had two children:[1]

Gary Cookson Anthony "Tony" Cookson

In 1952, her 7-year-old son, Willard, from her first marriage, accidentally drowned in a pond on their farm in Armonk while playing in a small row boat tied to the dock. The boy was found by Straight's second husband, Cookson.[7] The boy's father, Dolivet, who was living in Paris
at the time, was refused a visa and, therefore, unable to fly to the United States
United States
to attend the funeral, because of his alleged pro-communist activities, which he denied.[9] Straight reportedly suffered from Alzheimer's disease
Alzheimer's disease
in her last years. In 2001, she died from pneumonia in Northridge, Los Angeles, at the age of eighty-six.[1] Her interment was at William Henry Lee Memorial Cemetery in New Marlborough, Massachusetts. Filmography[edit] Film[edit]

Title[10] Year Role Notes

Phone Call from a Stranger 1952 Claire Fortness

Patterns 1956 Nancy Staples

Silken Affair, TheThe Silken Affair 1956 Theora

Nun's Story, TheThe Nun's Story 1959 Mother Christophe (Sanatorium)

Young Lovers, TheThe Young Lovers 1964 Mrs. Burns

Garden Party, TheThe Garden Party 1973 Mrs. Sheridan

Network 1976 Louise Schumacher Academy Award
Academy Award
for Best Supporting Actress

Promise, TheThe Promise 1979 Marion Hillyard

Bloodline 1979 Kate Erling

Formula, TheThe Formula 1980 Kay Neeley

Endless Love 1981 Rose Axelrod

Poltergeist 1982 Dr. Lesh

Two of a Kind 1983 Ruth

Chiller 1985 Marion Creighton TV Movie

Robert Kennedy & His Times 1985 Rose Kennedy TV Mini-Series

Power 1986 Claire Hastings

Deceived 1991 Adrienne's Mother (final film role)


Title[11] Date of Production Role Notes

The Possessed Oct. 24, 1939 - Nov. 4, 1939 Lisa

Twelfth Night Dec. 2, 1941 - Dec. 13, 1941 Viola

Land of Fame Sep. 21, 1943 - Sep. 25, 1943 Angela

The Wanhope Building Feb. 9, 1947 - Feb. 16, 1947 Felina

The Heiress Sep. 29, 1947 - Sep. 18, 1948 Catherine Sloper Replacement

Eastward in Eden Nov. 18, 1947 - Nov. 29, 1947 Emily Dickinson

Macbeth Mar. 31, 1948 - Apr. 24, 1948 Lady Macduff

The Innocents Feb. 1, 1950 - Jun. 3, 1950 Miss Giddens

The Grand Tour Dec. 10, 1951 - Dec. 15, 1951 Nell Valentine

The Crucible Jan. 22, 1953 - Jul. 11, 1953 Elizabeth Proctor 1953 Tony Award
Tony Award
for Best Featured Actress in a Play

Everything in the Garden Nov. 29, 1967 - Feb. 10, 1968 Mrs. Toothe


Title[10] Type Year Role Notes

Somerset Maugham TV Theatre Series 1951

Lights Out Series 1951 Charlotte

Love of Life Series 1951 Vinnie Phillips

Cosmopolitan Theatre Series 1951

Love Story Movie 1952 Elizabeth Barrett

The Web Series 1952

The Magnificent Failure Movie 1952 Louisa May Alcott

Armstrong Circle Theatre Series 1952

Kraft Theatre Series 1952-1953

Love Story Series 1954

Suspense Series 1952-1954 Mrs. de Spain / Claire Trent

Inner Sanctum Series 1954 Louise

Omnibus Series 1953-1954 Goneril

You Are There Series 1954-1955 Anne Boleyn

Danger Series 1955

Studio One in Hollywood Series 1951-1957 Pamela Baxter

The United States
United States
Steel Hour Series 1955-1958 Katherine Grant / Daisy Jackson

Playhouse 90 Series 1958 Grace

Play of the Week Series 1959 Mlle. de St. Euverte

Alfred Hitchcock Presents Series 1959-1960 Ida Blythe / Cynthia Fortnam Season 5, Episode 10 and Season 5, Episode 27

Diagnosis: Unknown Series 1960 Rhoda Clarence

Dr. Kildare Series 1961 Pamela Rainey

Naked City Series 1962 Ann Johns

The Doctors and the Nurses Series 1962 Ruth Martin

The Eleventh Hour Series 1963 Veronica Filmore

Ben Casey Series 1963 Edith Bauer

Route 66 Series 1961-1963 Elena De Amundo / Mother Teresa / Kitty Chamberlain

The Defenders Series 1965 Mrs. Campbell

Mission: Impossible Series 1966 Dr. Martha Richards Zubrovnik Season 1, Episode 11

Felony Squad Series 1967 Victoria Cahill

Matt Lincoln Series 1970

The Borrowers Movie 1973 Mrs. Crampfurl

Beacon Hill Series 1975 Mrs. Hacker

The Andros Targets Series 1977 Mrs. Benderson

The World of Darkness Movie 1977 Joanna Sanford

Wonder Woman Series 1977 Hippolyta

Killer on Board Movie 1977 Beatrice Richmond

The Dain Curse Mini-Series 1978 Alice Dain Leggett Emmy Award
Emmy Award
for Guest Actress in a Comedy (nomination)

King's Crossing Series 1982 Louisa Beauchamp

Faerie Tale Theatre Series 1984 Queen Veronica / Woman in Museum

Robert Kennedy and His Times Mini-Series 1985 Rose Kennedy

Chiller Movie 1985 Marion Creighton

Under Siege Movie 1986 Margaret Sloan

Jack and Mike Series 1988 Mike's mother

St. Elsewhere Series 1988 Marjorie Andrews

Run Til You Fall Movie 1988 Margaret

People Like Us (TV movie) Movie 1990 Maisie Verdurin


^ a b c d e Mel Gussow (April 11, 2001). "Beatrice Straight, Versatile Star, Dies at 86". New York Times. Retrieved 2015-01-21. Beatrice Straight, a graceful and versatile actress who won both an Oscar and a Tony Award, died on Saturday in North Ridge, Calif. She was 86 and lived in Beverly Hills, Calif., for most of the last 10 years. ...  ^ Cornish, Nellie C. Miss Aunt Nellie: the Autobiography of Nellie C. Cornish. Seattle, University of Washington Press, 1964: pp 214-17. ^ Robert Lewis (1996) [1984]. "Actors Studio, 1947". Slings and Arrows: Theater in My Life. New York: Applause Books. p. 183. ISBN 1-55783-244-7. At the end of the summer, on Gadget's return from Hollywood, we settled the roster of actors for our two classes in what we called the Actors Studio
Actors Studio
- using the word 'studio' as we had when we named our workshop in the Group, the Group Theatre Studio... My group, meeting three times a week, consisted of Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift, Maureen Stapleton, Eli Wallach, Mildred Dunnock, Jerome Robbins, Herbert Berghof, Tom Ewell, John Forsythe, Anne Jackson, Sidney Lumet, Kevin McCarthy, Karl Malden, E.G. Marshall, Patricia Neal, Beatrice Straight, David Wayne, and - well, I don't want to drop names, so I'll stop there. In all, there were about fifty.  ^ " Beatrice Straight performance length". Serving Cinema. Retrieved 2016-10-09.  ^ a b Staff (February 22, 1942). "BEATRICE W. STRAIGHT IS WED IN DES MOINES Sister of Lost R.A.F. Flier the Bride of Louis Dolivet, Editor". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 March 2016.  ^ Staff (May 25, 1949). "MRS. DOLIVET GETS DECREE As Beatrice Straight of the Stage, She Was Married in '42". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 March 2016.  ^ a b Staff (September 8, 1952). "ACTRESS' SON, 7, DROWNS Willard Dolivet Found in Pool on Westchester Farm". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 March 2016.  ^ Fluker, Kit. " Beatrice Straight papers 1922-1987 [bulk 1968-1986]". nypl.org. Archives of the New York Public Library. Retrieved 30 March 2016.  ^ Staff (September 12, 1952). "$110,000 IN BOYS ESTATE Mother Files Papers in Case of Dolivet Child Who Drowned". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 March 2016.  ^ a b "Beatrice Straight". imdb.com. Retrieved 3 February 2016.  ^ "Beatrice Straight". ibdb.com. Retrieved 3 February 2016. 

External links[edit]

Biography portal

Beatrice Straight at the Internet Broadway Database
Internet Broadway Database
Beatrice Straight on IMDb Beatrice Straight at Find a Grave Beatrice Straight papers, 1922-1987, held by the Billy Rose Theatre Division, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts

Awards for Beatrice Straight

v t e

Academy Award
Academy Award
for Best Supporting Actress


Gale Sondergaard
Gale Sondergaard
(1936) Alice Brady
Alice Brady
(1937) Fay Bainter
Fay Bainter
(1938) Hattie McDaniel
Hattie McDaniel
(1939) Jane Darwell
Jane Darwell
(1940) Mary Astor
Mary Astor
(1941) Teresa Wright
Teresa Wright
(1942) Katina Paxinou
Katina Paxinou
(1943) Ethel Barrymore
Ethel Barrymore
(1944) Anne Revere
Anne Revere
(1945) Anne Baxter
Anne Baxter
(1946) Celeste Holm
Celeste Holm
(1947) Claire Trevor
Claire Trevor
(1948) Mercedes McCambridge
Mercedes McCambridge
(1949) Josephine Hull (1950)


Kim Hunter
Kim Hunter
(1951) Gloria Grahame
Gloria Grahame
(1952) Donna Reed
Donna Reed
(1953) Eva Marie Saint
Eva Marie Saint
(1954) Jo Van Fleet
Jo Van Fleet
(1955) Dorothy Malone
Dorothy Malone
(1956) Miyoshi Umeki
Miyoshi Umeki
(1957) Wendy Hiller
Wendy Hiller
(1958) Shelley Winters
Shelley Winters
(1959) Shirley Jones
Shirley Jones
(1960) Rita Moreno
Rita Moreno
(1961) Patty Duke
Patty Duke
(1962) Margaret Rutherford
Margaret Rutherford
(1963) Lila Kedrova
Lila Kedrova
(1964) Shelley Winters
Shelley Winters
(1965) Sandy Dennis (1966) Estelle Parsons
Estelle Parsons
(1967) Ruth Gordon
Ruth Gordon
(1968) Goldie Hawn
Goldie Hawn
(1969) Helen Hayes
Helen Hayes
(1970) Cloris Leachman
Cloris Leachman
(1971) Eileen Heckart (1972) Tatum O'Neal
Tatum O'Neal
(1973) Ingrid Bergman
Ingrid Bergman
(1974) Lee Grant
Lee Grant


Beatrice Straight (1976) Vanessa Redgrave
Vanessa Redgrave
(1977) Maggie Smith
Maggie Smith
(1978) Meryl Streep
Meryl Streep
(1979) Mary Steenburgen
Mary Steenburgen
(1980) Maureen Stapleton
Maureen Stapleton
(1981) Jessica Lange
Jessica Lange
(1982) Linda Hunt
Linda Hunt
(1983) Peggy Ashcroft
Peggy Ashcroft
(1984) Anjelica Huston
Anjelica Huston
(1985) Dianne Wiest
Dianne Wiest
(1986) Olympia Dukakis
Olympia Dukakis
(1987) Geena Davis
Geena Davis
(1988) Brenda Fricker
Brenda Fricker
(1989) Whoopi Goldberg
Whoopi Goldberg
(1990) Mercedes Ruehl
Mercedes Ruehl
(1991) Marisa Tomei
Marisa Tomei
(1992) Anna Paquin
Anna Paquin
(1993) Dianne Wiest
Dianne Wiest
(1994) Mira Sorvino
Mira Sorvino
(1995) Juliette Binoche
Juliette Binoche
(1996) Kim Basinger
Kim Basinger
(1997) Judi Dench
Judi Dench
(1998) Angelina Jolie
Angelina Jolie
(1999) Marcia Gay Harden
Marcia Gay Harden


Jennifer Connelly
Jennifer Connelly
(2001) Catherine Zeta-Jones
Catherine Zeta-Jones
(2002) Renée Zellweger
Renée Zellweger
(2003) Cate Blanchett
Cate Blanchett
(2004) Rachel Weisz
Rachel Weisz
(2005) Jennifer Hudson
Jennifer Hudson
(2006) Tilda Swinton
Tilda Swinton
(2007) Penélope Cruz
Penélope Cruz
(2008) Mo'Nique
(2009) Melissa Leo
Melissa Leo
(2010) Octavia Spencer
Octavia Spencer
(2011) Anne Hathaway
Anne Hathaway
(2012) Lupita Nyong'o
Lupita Nyong'o
(2013) Patricia Arquette
Patricia Arquette
(2014) Alicia Vikander
Alicia Vikander
(2015) Viola Davis
Viola Davis
(2016) Allison Janney
Allison Janney

v t e

Tony Award
Tony Award
for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play

Patricia Neal
Patricia Neal
(1947) Shirley Booth
Shirley Booth
(1949) Maureen Stapleton
Maureen Stapleton
(1951) Marian Winters (1952) Beatrice Straight (1953) Jo Van Fleet
Jo Van Fleet
(1954) Patricia Jessel (1955) Una Merkel
Una Merkel
(1956) Peggy Cass
Peggy Cass
(1957) Anne Bancroft
Anne Bancroft
(1958) Julie Newmar
Julie Newmar
(1959) Anne Revere
Anne Revere
(1960) Colleen Dewhurst
Colleen Dewhurst
(1961) Elizabeth Ashley
Elizabeth Ashley
(1962) Sandy Dennis (1963) Barbara Loden
Barbara Loden
(1964) Alice Ghostley
Alice Ghostley
(1965) Zoe Caldwell (1966) Marian Seldes
Marian Seldes
(1967) Zena Walker
Zena Walker
(1968) Jane Alexander
Jane Alexander
(1969) Blythe Danner
Blythe Danner
(1970) Rae Allen (1971) Elizabeth Wilson
Elizabeth Wilson
(1972) Leora Dana
Leora Dana
(1973) Frances Sternhagen
Frances Sternhagen
(1974) Rita Moreno
Rita Moreno
(1975) Shirley Knight
Shirley Knight
(1976) Trazana Beverley (1977) Ann Wedgeworth (1978) Joan Hickson
Joan Hickson
(1979) Dinah Manoff (1980) Swoosie Kurtz
Swoosie Kurtz
(1981) Amanda Plummer
Amanda Plummer
(1982) Judith Ivey (1983) Christine Baranski
Christine Baranski
(1984) Judith Ivey (1985) Swoosie Kurtz
Swoosie Kurtz
(1986) Mary Alice
Mary Alice
(1987) L. Scott Caldwell
L. Scott Caldwell
(1988) Christine Baranski
Christine Baranski
(1989) Margaret Tyzack
Margaret Tyzack
(1990) Irene Worth
Irene Worth
(1991) Bríd Brennan (1992) Debra Monk
Debra Monk
(1993) Jane Adams (1994) Frances Sternhagen
Frances Sternhagen
(1995) Audra McDonald
Audra McDonald
(1996) Lynne Thigpen
Lynne Thigpen
(1997) Anna Manahan (1998) Elizabeth Franz (1999) Blair Brown
Blair Brown
(2000) Viola Davis
Viola Davis
(2001) Katie Finneran
Katie Finneran
(2002) Michele Pawk (2003) Audra McDonald
Audra McDonald
(2004) Adriane Lenox
Adriane Lenox
(2005) Frances de la Tour (2006) Jennifer Ehle
Jennifer Ehle
(2007) Rondi Reed
Rondi Reed
(2008) Angela Lansbury
Angela Lansbury
(2009) Scarlett Johansson
Scarlett Johansson
(2010) Ellen Barkin
Ellen Barkin
(2011) Judith Light
Judith Light
(2012) Judith Light
Judith Light
(2013) Sophie Okonedo
Sophie Okonedo
(2014) Annaleigh Ashford
Annaleigh Ashford
(2015) Jayne Houdyshell
Jayne Houdyshell
(2016) Cynthia Nixon
Cynthia Nixon

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 212416 LCCN: n86140092 ISNI: 0000 0000 5933 433X GND: 117306142 SUDOC: 082851867 BNF: cb14044607k (data) BIBSYS: 4003022 BNE: XX1459487 SN